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A.G. Schneiderman Lays Out His Vision For A New Tech Economy That Fairly Serves The Interests Of Entrepreneurs, Workers, And Consumers

At NY Tech Meetup Event, A.G. Schneiderman Describes His Framework Of “Responsible Disruption” That Will Nurture Innovation While Protecting Consumers and Workers

Schneiderman: The Civic Spirit Of New York’s Tech Community Is Strong. So It’s Up To Those Of Us In State Government To Nurture That Spirit And Help Make Sure This Community Can Expand In A Responsible Way

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman recently made remarks at an event, hosted by NY Tech Meetup, entitled, “Tech and Government Featuring NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.” During his speech, the Attorney General laid out his vision for a new tech economy that fairly serves the interests of entrepreneurs, workers, and consumers.

ON TECH AND OUR CHANGING LAWS:The explosion of new companies and ways of doing business is only going to accelerate. And in the absence of significant federal action, this will force state and local governments to re-evaluate laws and regulations—to draw distinctions between what is important to protect for our people and our economy, and what is simply a leftover vestige of the old ways of doing business.

ON THE FUTURE OF NEW YORK’S TECH POLICY:We’re now actually adding tech jobs at a faster rate than Silicon Valley. So what does this mean for those of us who make public policy? It means that we need to embrace new business models and new forms of civic engagement. We need to use them to build the best government, the best regulatory systems, and the strongest democracy in the country.

ON A NEW FRAMEWORK FOR PARTNERSHIP:The civic spirit of New York’s tech community is strong. So it’s up to those of us in state government to nurture that spirit and help make sure this community can expand in a responsible way. My goal is an evolving state framework for ensuring what I call “responsible disruption.”

ON RESPONSIBLE DISRUPTION: Responsible disruption is built on four key principles:

  1. Nurturing competition and fair markets;
  2. Identifying and accounting for the hidden costs of doing business in new ways;
  3. Protecting consumers; and
  4. Supporting workers as new business models evolve.

ON ENCOURAGING INNOVATION: Innovation can’t succeed in an environment that mindlessly protects the status quo. Monopolies, cronyism, and outdated laws and regulations only stifle new ideas. But we also must take care not to allow new monopolies to emerge. We need to protect our markets—not particular businesses or business models.

ON PROTECTING WORKERS: We have to consider how workers are affected as old industries give way to new kinds of labor. Whether you are working in a factory or a Brooklyn loft, every worker deserves an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.

The full speech, as prepared for delivery, can be read here.

The Attorney General’s remarks were followed by a panel of representatives from his office, moderated by Andrew Rasiej, Chairman of NY Tech Meetup. The panel will include: Lacey Keller, Director of Research and Analytics; Eric Stock, Chief of the Antitrust Bureau; Kathleen McGee, Chief of the Internet Bureau; and Tim Wu, Senior Enforcement Counsel and Special Advisor. Attorney General Schneiderman has been a leader in exploring innovative tech solutions to law enforcement and regulatory problems. In June 2013, the Attorney General brought together the Secure Our Smartphones (S.O.S.) Initiative, which comprised hundreds of law enforcement agencies, elected officials, and consumer advocates, to urge smartphone manufacturers and carriers to adopt “kill switches,” which eliminate the ability to reactivate stolen phones, to deter theft and reduce crime. Due to the work of this coalition, major smartphone manufacturers introduced “kill switches” as an automatic feature in their devices. In the years following that change, smartphone thefts and robberies have declined dramatically across the world.

In January 2015, Attorney General Schneiderman announced that he would propose legislation in Albany to overhaul New York State’s data security law and require new and unprecedented safeguards for the personal data of consumers. Attorney General Schneiderman’s bill, which was introduced but not passed last session, would broaden the scope of information that companies would be responsible for protecting; require stronger technical and physical security measures for protecting information; and create a safe harbor for companies who meet certain security standards, incentivizing them to adopt tough measures to protect personal data.

In the spring of 2015, the Attorney General joined with several law schools operating technology clinics in New York; the Brooklyn Law’s Incubator & Policy (BLIP) Clinic, Cardozo Law’s Tech Startup Clinic, Fordham Law’s Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP), New York Law School and New York University Law School in a series of partnerships aimed at encouraging tech start-ups in New York and fostering communications between the tech sector and regulators.